Human Rights Approach to Tourism

“With a record 467 million tourists traveling in the first half of 2012, international tourism remains firmly on track to reach one billion tourists by the end of the year.” (UNWTO)

Tourism Year 2012- Nepal
Tourism Year 2012- Nepal

The mentioned fact reveals the figure of massive transnational movement of international visitors within 2012. The major investors in tourism industry promote their products and services while facilitating their clients to reach different nook and corners of the world. Basically, tourism industry transacts human cultures, people and their habitats, and hospitalities at various levels. These wilderness tourism transactions appear to be possible at the cost of human rights yielding billions of dollars to the trade.
Despite claiming itself to be the fastest growing sector in the world, tourism industry stakeholders are absent from the far-reaching consequences that it has yielded. It should not be forgotten that the transacted places are peoples’ homes, their cultures, and the natural environment, that make the places and people alluring for visitors. Furthermore, the tourism industry and its developments have interrelation with other aspects of human lives.

Promotion of tourism includes land grabs and forced displacement, loss of livelihoods, compromised access to essential natural resources, environmental degradation, poor working conditions, exclusion from decision-making processes, cultural erosion, and the sexual exploitation of women and children as well. Many popular tourist destinations are known for their poor adherence to international human rights norms and standards too.

In brief, human rights approach to tourism tries to recognize and address the multiple human rights impacts and issues associated with tourism. For the sustainable promotion of tourism, its stakeholders have to consider the issues associated with violation of human rights within the industry whether it is for appropriation of land or for development of conservation.

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